Importance of Play in Child Development


Game Review

As children develop, they engage in many activities due to theiractivities nature. The games that children participate in havevarious developmental benefits. They assist in physical, emotionaland cognitive development. Drawing from various development theoriescoined by psychologies, the games can be purposively chosen for thechildren. The game I have decided to review is “Simon Says.” Thegame involves a group of children whereby one acts as the leader thatis Simon. The leader instructs the others on what to do, and theyhave to follow the instructions to the letter. Those who fault theinstruction are exempted from the game until the group identifies thewinner who follows all the instruction to the end. For example, whenSimon says Jump, all the children re suppose to jump without makingerrors. The game is appropriate for children between the ages of 4 to6 years.

As suggested by Piaget in his theory of development, children betweenthe age of 4 and six years are in the pre-operational stage(Santrock, 2009). That is, they are in the process of ushering intheir abstract and transcendence. Simon Says inclines to thisdevelopmental stage whereby, it cultivates the characteristic oftranscendence and tries to wean conservatism. Transcendence involvesmaking simple conclusions quickly. For example, when Simon Says jump,a child concludes quickly what is required and does it. Conservatismrequires repeated thinking. The game instigates children to rethinkevery time Simon gives instruction. They do not have to jump any timesince Simon change instructions every time.

At this age, Erikson in his theory of psychosocial learning suggeststhat children either develop initiative or guilt (Santrock, 2009).Upon successful completion of the activities in the game, childrendevelop a sense of satisfaction. Every participant strives to abideby the rules of Simon not to be kicked out of the game. Te strivingrelates to the successful weaning of conservatism and abstractreasoning. However, guilt may develop for children with moderatelearning abilities.

There is a high level of motivation to play the game again to checkwhether they can follow all the instructions. The social learningtheory as suggested by Albert Bandura indicates that children developthe attributes of retention motivation and attention at this age(Santrock, 2009). The instruction in the game elicits motivation aswell paying attention. At four years, the attribute of performancefades and children start paying attention to objects and activities.Simon Says requires that children be sharp to hear what the leadersays and think quickly about what they should do.

Lastly, the game manipulates the development of exceptional skills.Between four and six years, children can perform tasks like hoppingone foot, climbing, running among others. However, they do not have aperfect balance as thy hop and jump. Simon Says gives room forchildren to engage in physical activities sequentially, and thisstrengthens their physical skills. For example, Simon does not followa precise order of activities to be done, they can be sequential. Forexample, stand, sit, jump, hop and so forth. Another importantaspect of the game is it assists children to develop emotionally andsocially. Playing in a group helps them to develop friendships withtheir colleagues.

Article Summary

The distinction between reality and fantasy is not an easy task forchildren. The contexts in which children live in as well as theactivities they engage in is likely to influence their perception ofreality and fantasy. The primary criteria used to determine whethersomething is real, or just fantasy is perceptual input. That is, whatwe see in real and what we think about is fantasy. However, thecriteria cannot however be the sole criterion since people canreproduce what they think about into something visible, for examplethrough art. Martarelli et al. (2014) sought to assess whetherplaying video games has an effect on children’s ability todifferentiate reality and fantasy. On average, children between theages of 8 and 18 years spend at least one hour every day playingcomputer games. The authors were interested to find out whether thistrend affects their perception of what is real and what is onlyfiction (Martarelli et al. 2014).

To come up with valid results, the authors used a control experiment.A group of 20 boys and 14 girls was purposively chosen to participatein the two experiments. At eight years, the authors indicate thatchildren can differentiate between reality and fiction. Theexperimental group consisting of 22 learners was exposed to SuperMario, a computer game played for about fifteen minutes (Martarelliet al. 2014). The other 12 participated in the control experimentthat involves matching images from the same game. The lack of pastresearch in the area made it difficult for the researchers to form aspecific hypothesis, and they worked towards making an inference fromthe results of the experiment.

There were significant differences between children who played SuperMario and those who participated in the control environment. Thosewho played in the game recorded each f the pictures in the game asfantasy. The primary reason for this was that they believed videogames to belong to the fantasy world. At the age of 8-10 years,children can distinguish reality from fantasy. However, after playingthe game, it seemed to change their perception, and this made theauthors conclude that the context that children live in and theactivities they engage in has strong effects on their perception offantasy and reality (Martarelli et al. 2014). However, there was anotable non-generalization of the knowledge of the games played.Those who participates in the control environment recorded most ofthe images as real primarily because they appeared real in thepicture rather than in the game. Since the computer games revolvearound a story that sets into the mind of players, it mainly changestheir perception, and it becomes difficult for them to distinguishbetween what is real and what is imagined. Apart from affecting theway children perceive fantasy and reality, video games were found tohave some benefits like strengthening hand and eye coordination.

The authors concluded that playing videos games changes the waychildren perceive reality from fantasy. The children in the controlexperiment showed a variation from the way they grouped the picturesfrom those participating in the video game. It becomes difficult forchildren to tell what is real or otherwise in the games (Martarelliet al. 2014). They largely take everything to be fantasy simplybecause it is represented in a fantasy world. Therefore, althoughdifferentiation can improve with the advance of age, it remainssubject to malleability based in the context in which children live.


Martarelli, C. S.,Gurtner, L. M., &amp Mast, F. W. (2014). School-Age Children Show aBias Toward Fantasy Classifications After Playing a Platform Game.

Santrock, J. W.(2009). Life-span development. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.